Test -- How would you solve this problem?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by citizenzen, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #1
    This morning our press supervisor asked me if I could make him a press sheet to help dial in a printing press that had just had some work done on it.

    Our standard press sheet is 22x17". He wanted a grid of 1/8th inch squares covering the entire sheet, including bleeds and he wanted each 1/8" square numbered, starting from the top left, 1, 2, 3, 4... all the way to the bottom right corner... 25,760 numbered squares.

    It took me about 45 minutes to output the plate that he wanted.

    How did I do it?

    How would you?
     
  2. nelsencaleb macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    Iowa
    #2
    You did it with the training you learned in which got you this job.

    How I would do it is I would ask you for the answer first, then I would post the question on other forums, then I would give up.

    :D
     
  3. rk1228 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Location:
    Louisville
    #3
    I would have used an Excel Spreadsheet, defined the cell size to meet the requirements, add lines to all sides of the cell, define the page size to 22"x17", enter the number 1 in the first cell, then make a formula of (=a1+1) and copy it to the remaining 25,759 cells. It should only take about 5 minutes.
     
  4. citizenzen thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #4
    Awww... you beat me by 40 minutes.

    However, I've never taken to Excel... most designers I know avoid it like the plague. Spreadsheets and page layout generally don't mix. But perhaps you found one of the few ways Excel could be a useful prepress / layout tool.

    Can you specify that the cells be exactly 1/8" square?
     
  5. rk1228 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Location:
    Louisville
    #5
    I'm not an excel pro, but I do know cell height is measured in points (like fonts) and cell width is measured in characters. It took a couple of minutes to figure out and verify.
     
  6. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #6
    a nested set of for loops in either processing or As3... output to PDF. Takes about 4 minutes tops. No cutting or pasting required.

    If i remember correctly, you can also generate form algorithmically in Adobe Illustrator using python...
     
  7. sandyk macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    MUMBAI, INDIA
    #7
    Any CAD software will do it for you in less than 5 mins!!!!
     
  8. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #8
    I agree with lucidmedia. I would have done it in Flash. It would have taken longer to write the script than to do the actual output. But any decent scripting program that outputs to vector would suffice.

    How did you do it?
     
  9. citizenzen thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #9
    Okay... while I appreciate, the Excels, CADs and Flash solutions, I work in the print realm, so any solution ultimately has to RIP through a platesetter and go on an off-set press.

    The programs available to me are typical of any desktop designer: Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator.
     
  10. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #10
    Well, as I mentioned Illustrator can be manipulated with python. Also, both of the programming languages I mentioned can output to PDF... Or postscript if you prefer tho few people learn to program in postscript anymore...
     
  11. citizenzen thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #11
    Now I'm going to step out on a limb here...

    But I'm going to bet that most designers and prepress techs don't know how to manipulate Illustrator with Python.

    I know. It is a wild guess.
     
  12. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #12
    ok, ok I will give you the python thing.. Adobe does not publicize it as well as they should. Its a shame too, as it comes in really handy at times.

    but back in my day, most prepress shops had at least one tech on staff who could edit postscript. Illustrator would frequently crash the imagesetters otherwise... also clients would deliver jobs as raw postscript files.

    and today I know that just about all of the graduating design students coming out of my school have some experience in either processing or actionscript... so, finding designers who can program is not that hard anymore...
     
  13. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #13
    This has been up for a while, but something obvious just hit me. The press supervisor wants a sheet of numbered 1/8 in squares. What font would fit the last number (25,760) into a 1/8 in square? And why does each one need to be numbered? Why not use a row/column numbering system like a spreadsheet does? Row 7, column 38 is grid number 266, right?

    Dale
     
  14. citizenzen thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #14
    3 pt. Myriad Pro Light Condensed.


    We've been experiencing intermittent registration problems with our press and he wanted to pinpoint on the sheet exactly where it was happening. I would have settled for the row/column numbering system had I not found the solution.

    And what was my solution?

    My biggest need was generating the number sequence 1 – 25,760. As a graphic designer I often need to generate greeked text and I hoped that something similar existed for numbers. I ran across the following PHP while searching for a sequential number generator...

    PHP:
    <?php
    $lowestnum 
    1;
    $highestnum 28000//put whatever number you want here

    for($i=$lowestnum$i<=$highestnum$i++){
    echo 
    "$i, ";
    }
    ?>
    With this code I was easily able to get the numbers I needed. After copying/pasting the text into Indesign I replaced all the commas with tabs and every 184 steps put in a hard return (these fell into a neat little pattern. I was able to simply put a return in every four lines.) Once that was done it was just a matter of converting the text to a table and formatting it.

    Since then I have found some online sequential number generators like this one, http://textmechanic.com/Generate-List-of-Numbers.html. But I'm going to hang on to my PHP. It's just one more tool for the tool belt.
     

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